Have you ever felt completely debilitated by something? So completely taken over by emotion that you honestly don't know from one minute to the next if you are going to keep breathing? Keep holding on? If you even want to anymore?
Welcome to the world of anxiety.
Lately, my anxiety has been through the roof. No real rhyme or reason to it usually. Just one small little thing in someone else's eyes, can cause a complete breakdown for me. One small shot of pain through my body can make me think that I'm dying. One negative thought about myself can send me into a self loathing spiral. It really is that simple.
Life isn't easy for any of us. It's hard and complicated and can break even the strongest person. Before my diagnosis, I never understood why people that seemed fine on the outside, couldn't take care of everyday tasks. Yes, some people are capable and they just don't do what they should. I understand that. But 1 out of every 4 Americans suffer from a diagnosed mental disorder. That's over 26% of our country. Yet, it's one of the least respected and understood illnesses. For some reason, people assume that you should be able to be stronger than a chemical imbalance in your body. You should be able to think good thoughts and convince yourself that you are fine. You should be able to control your thoughts and your emotions. It's your fault that you aren't happy. Just change it.
I wish it was that simple. If it was, there would be so many illnesses that would just go away. Pretty much any chemical imbalance should be able to be reversed with that logic. No one should suffer from diabetes. No one should struggle with auto-immune disorders. If you just convince yourself that you are fine, you will be. It's all in how you look at it.
Let me ask you a question. Do you think that people who suffer from panic attacks want to feel like they are dying? Do you think that they love feeling like they can't breathe? They want attention so badly that they break down in the middle of a store? Think about it. Do you think that people with depression love feeling like the world would be better off without them here? Do you think they wake up every morning and say, I can't wait to get up and have absolutely not energy or to feel no happiness when I look at my children? Let's be realistic.
The stigma has to stop. These are legitimate illnesses that need professional help and many times, medications to control. We live with this every day. Many people with mental illness are the strongest people that I have ever met. They wake up everyday, knowing that they are going to have to fight every thought that comes into their mind. Every urge that they have to stay in bed, hurt themselves, not eat, cry, panic, worry, become irritated and so on.
We fight harder than people can even understand. Just remember that the next time you think someone is being lazy.